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If we consider the solar system, our closest neighbour in terms of similarity is undoubtedly Mars. The planet has many features in common with the Earth, first discovered by the space probe Mariner in 1971. Since then, Mars has been subject to increasing interest by astronomers and geologists alike, and new data will start arriving when the six-wheeled car-sized rover named Curiosity begins rolling across the surface of Mars in August 2012. But how much do we already know about the ‘Red Planet?’ The aim of this article is to make information on Mars more available to the lay reader at a time when the ‘Red Planet’ is under the spotlight.